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Coats of Arms

For example, the Irish name O'Connor has dozens.

What is a Coat of Arms?

Many non-Gaelic names were brought into the country especially during the seventeenth century. At that time it was very much a disadvantage to have a Gaelic or Irish-sounding name so many of the native names were 'anglicized' into a similar sounding Anglo or Scottish name.

The O'Murchadha sept adopted the name Murphy.

List of personal coats of arms of presidents of the United States

Some septs adopted a number of different variants including the O' hAodha sept who changed their name to both Hughes as well as Hayes. It was not uncommon for septs from the same clan to be found in completely different parts of the country O'Connor for example so it is important when researching your roots to try to find out the original part of the country that your ancestors came from as this may be a completely different area from that where the 'major' sept was domicile. The sept system was an integral part of Gaelic society and survived and was even propagated by the Norman invaders.

The system did not survive the English invasion and colonisation of the seventeenth century however, and it became a disadvantage to have a Gaelic sounding name.

Free Coat of Arms Search for Your Last Name and Family History

Anglicization: The Penal laws that were enforced by the colonists attempted to completely subjugate the Gaelic way of life. It is about this time then, that many Gaelic names changed to their Anglo equivalent or translation.

This can cause confusion as many of the names were misinterpreted or misspelled. The conversion of names beginning with Mac and Mc was even more difficult because the removal of the M sound from the name often completely changed the sound of the name.


  1. Family Coat of Arms – What is it? Do I Have One? | FHQS.
  2. Family Crest Finder.
  3. The Origin of Irish Family Names;

Surnames today: There are many different origins for Irish names today but the vast majority can be broken down into either of three categories: Gaelic Irish, Cambro-Norman, and finally Anglo-Irish. The Table shown here gives a listing of the most commonly names found in Ireland and their meanings.

These details were compiled from the Matheson report. Contact Us. McCabes Marie O'Byrne.

Family Name Search

Glossary of heraldic terms Index of family crests. Family crests are an element of heraldry which evolved in the Middle Ages to identify the wearer of armour in battle and flourished with the popularity of jousting tournaments. Heraldic markings started with simple colours and shapes and became more complicated over time. The descriptions of the various heraldic markings were recorded in Norman English as "Blazons" see Glossary.

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